The first time Robert thought he might have an obsession is when he bought a whole box of red pens. Well, no, that wasn’t very special, because he did that sort of thing all the time. There was once when he was a boy, and he bought a whole shop of kites because he wanted to fly one and couldn’t decide which one he wanted.
No, it was when he started to draw tiny, misshapen circles with them all over white paper. Not over his paperwork, if only because the black ink on it spoilt the effect.
He had—a dream. A half-remembered dream that he could barely remember but which always made him smile whenever the thought of it brushed past his mind. His father was in it, and though in the past Robert would have scoffed at the thought that any dream with his father was pleasant, somehow this time, it was. It so clearly was, and he felt—happy. Free.
As if there was a burden shoved off his shoulders.
This was what he remembered: a paper pinwheel. Snow. A hotel room. Rain. Being in a van. That was three places all at once and he knew it didn’t make sense, but it was a dream.
And dreams weren’t supposed to make sense, was it?
This was his clearest and most importantly memory from the dream: the sight of blood dotting the snow, and a man who is coughing, and coughing, and coughing. It was a dreadful cough, something that rattled his breath in his lungs and specked his white suit with blood. But that man—that man in Robert’s dream, he still found strength enough to stand, to walk, and even to protect Robert himself until—where? It didn’t matter.
Robert remembered him walking, and coughing. Remembered him holding out a hand for him to take, and Robert slapping his hand away. But he still tried to help Robert, despite the fact that he was dying. It was—something that Robert had never imagined anyone doing.
He looked at the countless pieces of paper that he has drawn red dots in. He looked at the papers containing details of all of the component companies of Fischer-Morrow. He looked at the pen he was holding. He looked at all the newspapers declaring him insane, crazy, mad, and all of those synonyms for daring to do what he wanted; what he felt right to do.
As he shuffled through the papers again, wondered why the well from which he has found his greatest strength is a man in a dream.
Robert detested parties. So many circling sharks, all of whom were wearing silks and far too much jewellery. It almost hurt his eyes to look at them, with the amount of bling they were carrying.
He leaned against the wall, a glass of champagne in his hands. Uncle Peter had said, at least talk to the vultures who were circling around the slowly-fragmenting pieces of Fischer-Morrow before you sell the company to them. At least get to know them.
Well, at the very least, Robert could do that. Though he held no emotional connection to the company—it wasn’t his, it was his father’s, and Maurice Fischer had wanted him to build something of his own—he at least owe his father and Uncle Peter to make sure that its component parts went to good hands.
There were voices approaching his corner. Robert scowled, covering his mouth with the glass of his champagne as he stepped further back into the shadows. Couldn’t a man find some sort of peace in this overdressed circus—?
“As I understand it, Mr. Saito, Proclus...”
That was Uncle Peter’s voice. And Proclus... Proclus Global. Their biggest competitors when Fischer-Morrow was still in the energy rat race, and now one of their biggest buyers. Its Chairman was a man named Saito alright, which meant that Uncle Peter was bringing the man over on purpose. For Robert to meet Saito and get to know him properly instead of simply exchanging brief glances over huge ballrooms during such functions.
It reminded of how much he had been kept away from doing anything useful in the company before his Father died. Robert had known about all of its workings, of course, but he knew nothing about the industry itself; about the competitors, about its partners... It had always been Uncle Peter or his own Father who had met with them, and right now Robert found it all ridiculous. His father was never ridiculous.
Of course, it just proved that his father had never meant for this company to be his. That he wanted Robert to build something for himself.
“Ah, Robert!” Uncle Peter’s voice cut through his thoughts, and Robert jerked his head up, instinctively quelling the scowl that was threatening to surface. “Mr. Saito was looking for you.”
Robert nodded, almost mechanical in his movements before he turned his eyes to Saito—and stopped breathing.
Blood on snow.
The misshapen red circles on paper.
The man in his dream—somehow—even though it was a dream and he shouldn’t exist outside of it. It was this man. This man who held out his hand even while he was dying. It was...
Robert thought that it was so terribly ironic. That the man who had saved him in a dream, that the man whom he had been drawing his greatest inspiration and strength from... was his father’s, and now his, biggest competitor. His breath caught in his throat, and he knew that he was staring dumbly at the other man in the most unbecoming way.
He was gaping at him.
And his fingers were loosening on the champagne glass. Robert didn’t feel it until Saito suddenly moved, grabbing his hands and steadying his hand—and Robert jerked again, as if trying to pull away his own self from Saito’s grip.
He looked up, staring into Saito’s eyes even as the other man straightened, pulling his hand away.
“Your glass looked in critical danger of falling, Mr. Fischer,” Saito said, and Robert could practically feel Uncle Peter’s incredulous gaze upon the two of them.
“Uh,” he said, intelligently. Blinked. Looked at his glass for a second before he drained it. “Right. Uh, thank you.”
Saito’s smile widened and he held out his hand.
Robert stared at the hand. He was doing a lot of staring lately—before Uncle Peter coughed, and he remembered his manners. Reaching out, he grasped Saito’s hand with his own, shaking it. His other hand placed the empty glass of champagne on a nearby table distractedly.
“Robert Fischer,” he said, and left out the ‘Junior’. “It’s a pleasure, Mr. Saito.”
There was something almost odd about Saito’s smile, in the crooked upward curve at the corners of his mouth. He wasn’t bothering to hide the humour in his eyes, but somehow, Robert wasn’t entirely offended. He was almost… pleased, because he had been faced with so many forced, polite smiles that an open face was refreshing.
Refreshing, and all the more dangerous. Only the most confident of men would bother to not hide their emotions, in this world; and the most confident of men were also the strongest and most powerful.
It was somehow fitting. Robert couldn’t help but continue to think about the sight of blood on snow. Of a dying man who reached out his hand, and his own hand that shoved it away. And he thought—if, in that dream, he had taken that man’s hand…
Would it feel like Saito’s?
When the function was over and Robert was finally alone—alone and tugging off the noose-like knot of his tie and thumbing off the buttons; alone and slumping down on his couch, blue eyes staring at the ceiling with his clothes all rumpled because there was no longer anyone watching—he thought about Saito.
There was a part of him that said that he should be having a crisis over the fact that Saito was a man and so was Robert and there was something wrong about that. But Robert had been spending the past weeks dreaming of Saito—or the man in his dream; either, or both, really—and it had come to the point where he really didn’t care anymore.
Besides, it wasn’t as if he had been good with women at all anyway. Robert had spent the better part of his life trying to date women, and it had always crashed and burnt pretty fast. Either they didn’t past Maurice Fischer’s approval, or they got tired of dealing with Robert’s issues. Sometimes a combination of both.
It was hard to tell when they were screaming at him and he was shouting back and his throat was hoarse and hurting.
So it wasn’t that Saito was a man that perturbed him. It was that he was that particular man. The guy in his dreams. Robert was remembering more and more of it; they were surrounded by snow, and that hand was reached out to him because he had fallen over. Because of what, Robert didn’t know, but it wasn’t his clumsiness because he could ski and it seemed ridiculous that he would forget all of the sudden—well, more ridiculous than the situation already was, anyhow.
After all, he was thinking about this at all because he thought that Saito was some guy he saw in a dream, and a dream he didn’t remember very well, indeed. Anyone would think that he had gone crazy. This was why Robert hadn’t told anyone about it; not even Uncle Peter.
(Especially not Uncle Peter, said a little voice, and Robert couldn’t help but notice that it was getting louder and louder. There was no reason whatsoever why he couldn’t trust Uncle Peter, yet…)
He was getting a headache from all of this. Robert groaned, grabbing a cushion from the couch and shoving it over his own face.
Then, he pulled it back up, and stared at the ceiling some more. Well…
It could be that someone had broken into his mind. Extractors were everywhere, these days, but… why would Saito be there? One thing that Robert was sure about extractors was that they were usually rather anonymous people. It went with the illegal nature of the profession.
Thinking of Saito as an extractor was more ridiculous than the entire train of thought he had so far. For him to have hired an extractor made more sense, but then it would explain why Robert was seeing his face in his dreams.
It was frustrating him, the lack of answers. Who was the man in his dreams, and why was he so sure that it was Saito?
And why did he want him so terribly, terribly badly?
Saito looked up. His assistant was standing at the door, holding a gigantic bouquet of roses. He blinked—the flowers looked like somebody went trigger happy and shot rainbows all over the petals.
And he could practically taste the pollen in the air. His nose wrinkled.
“Compliments from Mr. Robert Fischer, sir,” his assistant said blandly.
Saito took a deep breath. And sneezed. Hard enough to rattle his desk, and nearly blow some of the papers off his desk.
He stared at his assistant belligerently. The poor man bowed.
“I will return it, then.”
“He’s allergic to pollen,” Robert’s secretary was telling him.
Robert stared at the roses in his hands. He stared at the language of flowers for days and confused himself entirely. Did he want to send yellow roses, for friendship, or rose roses, or… In the end, he asked the florist to put one in every colour and send it.
And apparently Saito was allergic to them. To all flowers.
Great. So that’s completely out, and he needed to think of better ideas.
He dumped the roses on his secretary’s arms, storming across the room back to his desk. Why was this so hard? He never really had to try before, with the women he dated. Usually he sent flowers, they accepted those, and then he asked them out for dinner, and they talked. Thing usually went well from there. Robert practically had a formula.
One that Saito just completely trashed with one move. Brilliant, really. It completely pulled the rug out from under his feet, and now he didn’t know how to carry on when step one already failed. No wonder Saito was such a fearsome competitor—except this wasn’t a business move.
When did he start thinking about relationships as business moves? When had he not, really?
Robert stared angrily at the wall.
“Uh,” his secretary said, and Robert turned his glare on the man. Fortunately for him, he didn’t shrink away.
“What am I supposed to do with these, sir?”
Oh, the roses. Robert waved a hand. “Dump them.” Then he paused, looked at his secretary for a moment. “Unless you want them?”
“No thank you, sir.”
Saito looked up.
His assistant was standing at the door. There was a deep sense of déjà vu about this situation, and he blinked at the box of… was that sweets? He blinked. No, that was chocolates. A veritable mountain of them—he could practically smell them from here.
“Compliments from Mr. Robert Fischer, sir,” his assistant said blandly.
Oh, that was very familiar too.
Saito lifted an eyebrow, “What brand is it?”
“He doesn’t eat sweets,” Robert’s secretary was telling him.
Robert smacked a hand over his face, dragged it down and looked at the two tiny boxes in front of him. One of them was very familiar. The other…
“The question is,” he said tersely, “why are there two boxes?”
“Compliments from Mr. Saito, sir. Richart chocolates flown fresh from France.” His secretary slid over a piece of paper to him.
Neuhaus’s standards are below what a man like you deserves. I believe Richart will suit your tastes more. Please at least try one, for my sake.
The first thing that Robert thought of was—Saito had really nice handwriting. Secondly… he scowled, staring down at the note, then at the small box that Saito had sent. Richart, huh?
He popped open the lid. Popped one into his mouth.
How the hell did Saito know that he liked dark chocolate? And ganache? Robert picked up the card again, traced his fingers over the words. He didn’t even realise that his secretary was still hovering around until the man spoke again.
Robert jerked his head up, and resisted licking his fingers. “Take the Neuhaus and distribute it amongst the staff.” He poked at it, pushed it away from him. His secretary took the message and picked it up.
“Leave the Richart.”
When his secretary finally left, Robert took another piece, and popped it into his mouth. He was perfectly aware that he was utterly failing at wooing Saito, while it seemed that Saito was drawing him closer and closer into his web without even trying.
Robert thought that he was in way too deep, anyhow. It just meant that he had to try harder, right?
Third time’s the charm. Right.
His assistant was standing at the door again, and he was holding something in his hands. Saito blinked. This was really getting way too familiar. He held up a hand.
“What did Mr. Fischer send, this time?” his tone was a little wry, and he didn’t miss his assistant’s almost-relieved little smile as the man walked towards him, placing the long box in front of him.
Saito reached out, picking up the box and opening in it, drawing it out. He smiled slightly at the sight of the yellow label.
Chateau d Yquem 1784, a very rare vintage indeed. Very rare and very good. Saito laughed slightly, and dropped the bottle carefully back into the box.
Then, he sat down, and started to write an invitation, addressed to a Mr. Robert Fischer.
“He invited you to dinner, Mr. Fischer,” Robert’s secretary was telling him.
Robert smiled. Finally something worked. Now he could finally move on to step two, where he meet Saito for dinner, and then, well—wait. Wait.
… He… had been trying to woo the man, hadn’t he? The flowers, the chocolates, and now wine. What
“Tell him that we can sign the agreements on the component parts of Fischer-Morrow during this dinner,” he said, then shook his head. “Actually, never mind that. I’ll write it up myself.”
‘The way to a man’s heart is in his stomach’, Robert’s ass. It was in expensive wines and hefty contracts. Or so it seemed with Saito.
It had been weeks since he had met Saito. Weeks that he had been sending him flowers and chocolates and now wine to ostensibly woo him—ostensibly because he hadn’t been succeeding very well, and if Saito asked about it, then he had at least a reason to lie. Not that he usually needed a reason, but it was well enough as a safety net.
Or it might just be that he would really like to not think about what he was doing, trying to woo his father’s main competitor. The main buyer of the Fischer-Morrow fragments. An older man who was most likely married… Wait. Was he married? Probably not; Robert didn’t see a ring, and he had never seen Saito with his wife or any women during the functions or parties… though that didn’t say much, because he had never really taken notice of Saito (or anyone else) before… all this. He was usually too busy giving false smile and greeting everyone.
Why did he not know whether or not Saito was married, while Saito knew his favourite type of chocolate?
What was he getting himself into anyway?
Robert reached out a hand, toying with the mouth of his empty wine glass as he waited. He had came to the restaurant early because it would be ridiculous if he was late, but now he was just waiting and if he started fidgeting, he was going to look absolutely ridiculous.
More ridiculous than he already seemed, anyhow.
He picked up the glass, and put it down again. The waiter moved to fill it, but Robert waved him away without even looking—he didn’t need anything, and why was Saito being so slow—
Speak of the devil. Robert turned, a professional smile immediately gracing his lips as he stood. Saito came without an entourage—there was only him, without even a shadow of an assistant tailing his shadow. For a moment, Robert blinked, because that was so terribly rare. Men like Saito, like him, didn’t walk alone—they walked surrounded by their bodyguards, their assistants, their chauffeurs, their... whatever. But Saito handed off his coat to the waiter, and waved off another as he pulled out his chair himself.
“Mr. Saito,” Robert said, and his voice was calm even as his heart started to pick up speed at the mere sight of the man across of him. Saito folded his fingers in front of him, his shoulders—not as broad as his height would suggest, but not thin either—straight. He was wearing a navy blue waistcoat and matching tie, with darker coloured pants. Robert looked and noticed all these, and he couldn’t tell if Saito went to the extra effort because he hadn’t bothered looking before.
Dinner passed in a blur. Robert was busy trying to not make a complete and utter fool of himself and not show his nervousness around the other man. This was only a business meeting; nothing more. He shouldn’t be making a big deal out of it.
“You seem troubled, Mr. Fischer,” Saito said, jerking him out of his thoughts suddenly. Robert barely kept from throwing his steak knife at him; he gripped it a little tighter, and lifted his eyes.
He shrugged, “Yea, I just- I just have a lot on my mind.”
Saito’s smile turned a little crooked at the corners, as if he was laughing at something Robert couldn’t decipher. It irked him—was there something amusing in what he said?
“In any case,” he put the knife down, straightened his back as he placed his hands on his lap. The waiter immediately cleared the plates, and Robert took up the glass of wine for want of having something for his hands to do. Then, he put it down, and reached down for the folder in his briefcase. He slid it over to Saito, and tried not to fidget.
“I believe you have made a typographical error here, Mr. Fischer,” Saito said, and Robert looked up as the other man placed the contract down, pushing it over to him.
His fingers were very long, Robert thought, distracted even as he looked down to where Saito was pointing.
“The offer was for fifty-five percent of Fischer-Morrow,” Saito frowned. “But the figure here is written as sixty-one percent.”
Here it was. Fischer breathed in, stared at his hands.
“That is deliberate, Mr. Saito,” he said, keeping his voice steady before he met the other man’s gaze again.
Saito only frowned, “Why?”
“I believe that you will be the best person to take care of the assets,” Robert said, because it was too difficult to try to find a business-like way to say: I wanted to give you something that I know you want, and this is all I know that you want.
There was a long, eerie silence. Saito’s finger had paused, and he seemed to have frozen so entirely. Robert swallowed, reaching out for the wine glass and taking a sip—the wine was, of course, perfect; the very bottle he bought for Saito, and yet...
It tasted just like ash, underneath Saito’s blank, cold stare.
“I will take the assets that you are offering, Mr. Fischer,” Saito finally said. “But I will also offer you what I believe them to be worth.”
Robert’s lips parted to protest, because it was a gift; that it was a present a paying for it just defeated the entire purpose. But Saito’s stare was flat and icy, the amber-brown shades becoming cold stone, Robert only nodded instead. Saito nodded, turning back to the documents and cancelling out the old amount and writing numbers above.
He looked cursorily at the paper without even noting the numbers before he signed it. Saito’s gaze remained a weight on his shoulders, heavier than even his father’s disappointment, and Robert had to fight to not want to throw something or flip the table over or even shove at the other man. Just—something, instead of sitting here, being looked at and being found unworthy.
(Like in the dream—he remembered it again, and instead of smiling, he only grimaced. Goddamnit.)
It was clear that he had screwed up terribly. Nothing could be clearer at moment. Robert stood, shoving the papers back into his briefcase before he bowed sharply at the other man.
He swept out of the restaurant in a rush, and luckily he didn’t trip over his own feet—he had embarrassed himself quite thoroughly already to not need to add juvenile clumsiness to it all. And he could hear Saito’s chair as he stood; could hear his own name being called, but he ignored him.
He still had his pride, even though he had been practically humiliating himself for the sake of chasing this man.
For the next month, he didn’t call on Saito at all. He didn’t send anything either. Though he couldn’t help but follow all of the news of Proclus’s growth as it surpassed the size of what Fischer-Morrow used to be; he couldn’t help but watch Saito as he gave speeches, interviews, his eyes roving, looking at everything except what Robert wanted him to look at the most.
Except at Robert himself.
It was two months after that disastrous dinner—two months in which Robert didn’t get to see Saito at all except in the news, the magazines and newspapers; two months in which he had dived into the work of selling off the rest of Fischer-Morrow’s component parts that had not gone to Proclus; two months which he didn’t stop thinking about that man and his dream and every single time he saw the red pens around his desk he was reminded all over again—and Robert was no closer to forgetting about Saito as he had been when he first stormed out of the restaurant.
He was leaning in his chair, twirling his pen in his hair and staring out of the window. Fischer-Morrow was already split up, and what little left of it Robert had given to Uncle Peter, because that was what Uncle Peter had wanted. Right now he was so absurdly wealthy that he could give ninety percent of his money away and he would still have enough to continue with his current lifestyle until he reached two hundred years old.
Not to say that he would, of course, because being his own man didn’t mean living off the money that his father had made. Already on his desk were the plans for a new company; something to do with children’s toys. It was something drastically different from the energy conglomerate that Maurice Fischer had built from ground-up, and that was, really, most of the reason why he was choosing it.
(The idea came to him in a dream. A paper pinwheel, with too-large blade and clumsily-folded sides—the pinwheel he had built with his parents during one of the few good days in his childhood.)
“Mr. Fischer,” it was his secretary’s voice. Robert blinked, turning around. He put the pen on the table, tilted his head. It was permission for the man to continue.
“Mr. Saito’s office had just called. We have just received news of Mr. Saito’s collapse, sir—”
“What?!” Robert’s voice had risen to a shout, and he stood up so suddenly that his chair smacked against the window. His assistant’s eyes widened, but he nodded sharply.
“He’s at the Cedars-Sinai right now.”
Well, he expected nothing less but the best when it came to Saito. He grabbed his coat, pulling it on as he strode towards the door. “Get the car ready. We’re heading down.”
“So,” Robert said, leaning against the doorframe of Saito’s private room. He was scowling fit to send an entire troop of employees cowering in the trenches. Trenches that they had to immediately start digging in the middle of the office floors.
Saito, dressed in his usual three-piece suit with the jacket slung over the visitor’s chair, merely looked up from where he was looking through his papers. He pushed his glasses, silver wire-framed, up his nose a little more.
(He wore glasses, Robert thought, and felt schoolgirl-giddy for a moment before he focused on his anger instead.)
“Why, hello, Mr. Fischer,” Saito said, smiling slightly as he put down his papers.
“Don’t ‘hello’ me, you bastard,” Robert sniped out through gritted teeth. “I broke three speed limits just to get here because you said that you had collapsed.”
“You mean your driver broke three speed limits,” Saito corrected him, looking far too amused.
“My driver, me, it’s the same,” he was striding into the room, standing right next to Saito and looking down on him. Even though he had the height advantage, he still felt distinctly lost. “The point is—“
“Have you been trying to woo me, Mr. Fischer?”
Robert’s train of thought screeched into a stop so quickly that he could practically feel it leaving burnt-out tracks in his mind. He blinked. Opened his mouth. Closed it. Gaped at Saito and felt distinctly like a fish. He really didn’t like feeling like a fish.
Then, he breathed in; drawing himself up with all the dignity he could gather. “You mean I’ve been failing to.” There was a pause, and Robert waved his hand. “But the point is that—you lied to me.”
“My assistant lied to your assistant,” Saito said, mildly.
They stared at each other; Robert was breathing hard, eyes narrowed as he practically glared down at Saito, who only returned his gaze with soft eyes and a crooked smile.
Then, Saito waved at the visitor’s chair—or rather, the visitor’s armchair. This was Proclus Global’s President, after all, and the best room in the hospital.
“Will you sit down?”
Robert thought about saying no, that he would prefer standing—but it would be a lie because his neck was getting a crick from staring down at Saito, and standing up didn’t give him any advantage anyway. He huffed quietly, walking over to the chair, pulling it out with more roughness than necessary and dropping down onto it.
Saito reached out, and Robert blinked, freezing in place when he felt his hair being brushed out of his eyes and tucked neatly behind his ear.
“I’m a divorced man with many years on you,” Saito said, sounding quiet and contemplative, watching Robert through lidded eyes. “I have children.” He paused, lifting his shoulders into a shrug. “And there are countless beautiful women who would better appreciate your... gifts.”
“First of all,” Robert said, leaning in a little too close. “You are only eight years older than me. Secondly... I’ve had those women before, and they’ve never really...” he waved his hands around a little. “You know.”
Saito only nodded—of all people, Robert thought, Saito would understand. He had gone through the same, after all. All those people who had looked at them and only seen their power and wealth and influence, and never as themselves, with all their strengths and flaws.
“I... I don’t know,” he said, perfectly honest, perfect vulnerable, blue eyes lifting up and meeting Saito’s. “It was a dream I had.” He probably sounded completely crazy. Saito had gone completely still, so Robert barrelled on.
“When I saw you again, I just... wanted.” He rubbed at the back of his neck. “I don’t make any sense, I’m sorry.”
“I’m very flattered, Mr. Fischer,” Saito said, polite and calm, and Robert snapped his head up. His spine straightened immediately, and if he was a cat, his fur would be bristling.
“If you’re going to reject me,” his fingers were curling into fists at his lap, “then at least have the decency to call me Robert.”
Saito looked at him for a long moment, and the weight of this gaze was completely different from the one in the restaurant. There was heat crawling up from the base of his spine to his neck, and Robert opened his mouth, about to tell Saito to just stop staring on him—
But Saito was leaning in, pressed his lips against Robert’s gently. Once.
“If that is my intention, I would not have tricked you here.” He smiled slightly, and brushed away Robert’s hair from his eyes again. “I propose a partnership.”
Robert closed his mouth, and then opened it again. He sucked in a breath. “Do you... ever talk like a normal person?”
Saito laughed, low and rumbling in his chest and Robert felt his cheeks start to heat up again. “Am I still allowed to call you Robert if I’m accepting your offer?”
“Fuck, yes,” Robert said, and he grabbed onto Saito’s shoulders, pushing himself out of the chair as he crashed their lips together. Saito’s hands wrapped around him, fingers digging into Robert’s hair, mussing it up as he returned the kiss.
And, all of the sudden, he saw it again—the sight of blood on snow, stark red against white. But this time, there was something more beautiful—the sight of Saito’s eyes, amber-brown and darkened as they break their kiss to breathe; the weight and warmth of the gaze on his skin—and Robert locked the memory of the colour, of the feeling, in his mind even as he closed his eyes and kissed him again.
“You told me once that you saw me in a dream. What was that dream?”
“I don’t remember it very well,” there’s a pause. An inhale. “There was... a hotel. Snow, so much snow—and the sight of specks of blood on it. That’s why I have so many red pens in the office. And there’s a man—you—who helped me even when he was dying. It was his blood on the snow, and yet he still found the strength to help me. I just... found that admirable. Inspirational, really.”
Quiet laughter, and then the sounds of a kiss.
“I assume that I am not lacking, when compared to that man.”
A snort. “Like hell you would ever think you are lacking.” There was another pause. “By the way, the head of your security looks familiar—what’s his name?”
“... Mr. Arthur?”
“Yea.” Contemplative silence. “He’s just... weirdly familiar. Though, I’ve never seen him before.”
End for real, this time